"[Our docent] did an excellent job of engaging my children. My daughter loved the calligraphy and my sons sought him out while we walked from one place to the next and asked questions.”
Kyoto for Kids - Walking with Warriors
Inside the Rock Gardens
Gavin received a Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and came to Kyoto in 2001 to take his current position as a tenured university professor of history, religious studies, and American Studies. Since 2016, he is also a Fellow at Harvard's Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies. His teaching and research revolve around Japan's cultural encounters with the West, particularly during the Edo, Meiji, Taisho and early Showa periods (1600-1940), and he has published on the history of foreign tourism and of Protestant missionaries in Japan. To further explore Japan's global cultural encounters, he is currently writing a book on the history of Japanese menswear from the 1600s through the early 20th century. He is also an expert on Kyoto geisha culture and a frequent participant in geisha entertainment. He enjoys reading, spending time with his family, and exploring with clients Kyoto's endlessly fascinating culture and history.
Daniel is a Ph.D. candidate at Kyoto University studying the Sociology of Tourism. A continuation of his master's thesis, which he also completed in Kyoto, Daniel's Ph.D. studies examine how touristic ideas of Japan have evolved from the 19th century to contemporary times, and what historical events, artistic, intellectual and consumeristic movements have played a role in shaping ideas of Japan. Beyond looking at tourism through a critical lens, he also teaches about the problems of intercultural communication at Doshisha Women's College, as well as being active in organizing Japanese cultural events for international students in Kyoto. A nine-year Kyoto resident, Daniel is hugely interested in food culture both in his native Melbourne and in Japan, and is studying the latter by going to food seminars and eating out as much as possible. He has studied Japanese tea ceremony for nine years and has been learning <i>aikido</i> for eight; both practices have taught him much about Japan's spiritual side.
John was born in 1952, in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. At Carleton College (Northfield, Minnesota) he majored in English and German literatures, graduating in 1974. An offer to teach English for Panasonic brought him to Kansai, where he settled in Kyoto in 1977. Soon after arriving, he started studying Japanese at the Kyoto Nihongo Gakko, and, in 1979, he took up Nihon Buyo (classical Japanese dance) under the tutelage of WAKAYAGI Kimiha. (Kimiha-sensei died in 2015, and in 2019, John resumed his dance study with WAKAYAGI Shuho.) In addition to dancing, writing and editing have also kept him busy. For three years he served as editor of the “Kyoto Visitor’s Guide”. As a freelance writer, he has contributed articles to The Japan Times, Asahi Evening News, and the Japan National Tourist Organization’s website. He also authored the Kyoto chapter of EYEWITNESS: JAPAN (Eyewitness Travel Guides, Dorling Kindersley publisher, 2000). Interests include sumie, Kyoto food culture, the Thai language, and travel (especially to Southeast Asia). Although happily mired in the Kyoto milieu, he is grateful that Osaka is only a 45-minute train ride away.
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